An Open Letter to Prime Minister Modi – Speak Up Sir!

Dear Modi ji,

At the outset, let me tell you that I am a bhakt. I may not have chopped my finger off and dropped it in a hundi of a temple when the Supreme Court exonerated you in the 2002 post-Godhra train burning incidents, but I will surely campaign to re-elect the BJP government under your leadership in 2019.

With that out of the way, let me come to the reason for my letter to you. I have been closely tracking the progress made by your government in terms of the election promises. Twenty months is also too early to give marks to the performance. Indeed, many initiatives do deserve kudos. However, what baffles me is your indifference to the voters. Let me elaborate.

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I am completely exasperated by your silence on various topics. Your government’s communication strategy – if it has one – is a DISASTER. May that be as silly as Aamir Khan’s removal of brand ambassador of government projects or as critical as the unnecessary mudslinging of the NSA recently. The government is very close to becoming a laughing stock as far as communication goes. I am all for press freedom and free speech. But how can you tolerate repeated vitiating attempts of your government, your ministers or the ministries. Also, “free speech” must be from both the directions – where is YOUR speech? Why have you or your office or your ministries not issued immediate clarifications before letting the issues escalate?

It hurts when I say this – I remember the days when the reticent Manmohan Singh showed some spine during the India-US civil nuclear agreement. Why don’t I see that in you? When Smriti Irani was insulted by Sharad Yadav in Rajya Sabha, where was the “bhaiyya” voicing support for his “behen” on the floors of the Rajya Sabha? Why did you not chastise him? Do you realize how much confidence that could have given to women in India? Politicking aside, what about policies? For God’s sake, you have 330+ MPs in the Lok Sabha and all we see is Venkaiah Naidu begging Congress to support GST and Arun Jaitley giving assurances since May 2014. I love the ‘idea’ of consensus. But remember who you are dealing with on the other side. May be I do not understand the politics behind it. Why don’t YOU tell me the truth? Why do I have to listen to the spokespersons give out the same talking points?

Prime Minister is the guardian of the country. Much like in a family, a father needs to keep interacting with a child regularly to monitor progress and assure his warmth. We expect the Prime Minister to keep updating us with critical issues. “Mann Ki Baat” does not count, as your statements are not challenged. Who likes a child who does not ask questions of his father? Twitter and Facebook also do not count as they have turned into your calendars or birthday/shradhaanjali messages. Who likes a father who is only talking about events? Where can I see you talk policies? Where can I see you answer questions to the government policies? Where can I know government positions on sensitive issues?

Please do not direct me to your ministers. We elected a “Modi Sarkaar” and we demand Modi to answer. Many of us have that last bit of hope in you. Do not take India to a place where an elected Prime Minister can seek refuge behind the cloak of silence. We endured that for 10 years and elected you to change that. Please show up. Be combative. Put others to place. That’s the Modi we want to see more of.

There are some of your supporters, who consider your silence as a master strategy. The narrative goes like this: Modi will remain silent for 4 years. Opposition will use all their weapons, to insult Modi, at their disposal. One year before elections, Modi will come out all guns blazing and go on a campaign blitzkrieg – very similar to 2014 – and dismantle opponents and win the majority again in 2019. If this is indeed planned, I pray this to come true.

But my gut says that the voter is much smarter than this. When he sees you go to Congress with a begging bowl with 330+ MPs, imagine his fear if BJP has 271 MPs. Onus is on you to not let that happen. We are waiting to hear from you.

Eagerly waiting for a press conference or a televised interview,

Shubhchintak


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